Tag Archives: home working

How to Make Flexible Working Work for your Business:

Advice for Employers

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Image via Office Now/Creative Commons

We recently covered what employees need to know about the forthcoming changes to flexible working legislation. Therefore, today’s blog post will be aimed at employers who wonder how best to make these changes work for their businesses.

Legislation coming into force in June 2014 will mean that all UK employees will gain the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks’ service, rather than only those with children under the age of 17 (or 18 if the child is disabled) and those with other caring responsibilities.

It is clear that this new legislation will bring certain benefits, such an increasingly diverse UK workforce. However, some may be apprehensive about how such a change could affect their business. Here are a few of your top queries answered.

How Can the New Flexible Working Legislation Help my Business?

There is much evidence to suggest that flexible working may have a positive impact upon businesses.  This is due to a number of reasons, namely:

  • Flexible working may allow companies to hold onto valuable staff,
  • Flexible working allows companies access to a wider talent pool, including individuals who for whatever reason are excluded from conventional 9 to 5 hours. Companies with an interest in increasing diversity gain recognition for their achievements.
  • Flexible working may help to reduce absenteeism, and also may help to combat stress-related absences.
  • Flexibility may increase employee commitment, and there is evidence to suggest that flexibility boosts productivity.
  • Companies may be more able to extend opening hours due to the wider availability of the workforce.
  • Businesses may save money with the aid of remote/ flexible working, which would allow for resources, including office space and working to be used more efficiently.

What Kinds of Flexible Working Can My Employees Request?

There are many different types of flexible working that your employees can request. It is likely that your business already accommodates at least one of these flexible ways of working:

Job sharing: This usually means two people being employed in the same role and job and splitting the hours.

Working from home: This is when the employee does some (or all) of the work from home or anywhere else other than the normal place of work.

Part time: This refers to any arrangement involving working less than full-time hours (usually by working fewer days).

Compressed hours: This means working full-time hours but over fewer days than normal.

Flexitime: The employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits). Usually, the employee will have previously agreed ‘core hours’.

Annualised hours: The employee is required to undertake a certain number of hours over the year but they have some flexibility about when they work.

Staggered hours: The employee has different start, finish and break times from other workers.

Phased retirement: Now that the previous default retirement age has been phased out, older workers have more choice over their employment. This means that they might reduce their hours or work part-time.

What if Flexible Working is Unsuitable For My Business?

There are many forms of flexible working which are suitable for all businesses, regardless of size or turnover. However, if you find that an employee’s request for flexible working is unsuitable for your company, there are many reasons that enable you to deny the request. There include:

There are several reasons why your employer may turn down your request for flexible working. For example:

  • Implementing flexible working request may involve extra costs which would be detrimental to the business
  • Implementing the request would prevent the business to meet customer demand
  • It is not possible for the work to be reorganised among other staff
  • It is not possible for people to be recruited to do the work
  • The requested flexible working arrangements would have an effect on quality and performance
  • There is insufficient work to do during the proposed working times
  • The business is in the process of planning changes to the workforce

How Do I Deal With Requests For Flexible Working?

When you receive a request for flexible working, you should request a meeting within 28 days to discuss your employee’s request.You then must make a decision within 14 days of the meeting and inform the employee of your decision.

If you accept your employee’s request for flexible working you must give the employee a new contract. It is worth noting that your employee has the right to appeal if you don’t agree to the request.

Where Do I Go to Get More Information on Implementing Flexible Working?

If you require more information on the changing legislation go to GOV.UK, or ACAS.

Furthermore, you could read advice on how to implement flexible working for SMEs, and tips for implementing remote working.

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How Developing Companies Can Find the Skilled Workers They Need

It can be tough for young companies and start-ups to gain the skilled employees that they need in order to fuel their growing business. A common concern of directors of start-ups is that larger and more established companies soak up all the available talent, leaving little for small developing firms. This is, undoubtedly, an issue, but one that can be overcome with the implementation of a good HR strategy, including the nurturing of a culture of flexibility!

Make Flexibility a Core Feature of Your Business

One advantage that start-ups have over established companies is that arguably, it is easier to implement and manage flexible working within smaller businesses, in that it is easier to keep track of schedules and workload of a smaller team. There is much evidence to show that priorities are shifting in favour of a strong work/life balance, especially amongst millennials. Make flexible working integral to your business now and reap the benefits of an abundant supply of enthusiastic, skilled workers!

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Market Your Unique Vision to Potential Employers

Make your vision for your company appealing by showing the human side of your firm. Arguably, this is far easier when your company is relatively new and localised! Tell the story of your business, including how you got started, and what drives you and your employers to consistently deliver fantastic results. Applicants for jobs will be inspired by your ambitions and will want to contribute.

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Showcase the benefits of working for a start-up

There are many positive aspects of working for start-up firms. For one, start-up employees are likely to engage with their company on a deeper level by fulfilling many diverse roles. This can only be beneficial for employees, as a wider range of experience enables a worker to expand on their skillset. Furthermore, as the work involved often changes day to day, working for a start-up does not present the same monotonous grind that working for a larger company often does. Emphasise the role of creativity, and the need for creative thinking in order to boost interest in your firm

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Good Luck, Start-Ups!

How Employers Can Aim to Build a Loyal Team

Earning the Respect of Your Employees Now Will Pay Off in the Future!

When leading a team of individuals, it is important to remember make each member of your team feel useful, valuable and necessary to the functioning of the group as a cohesive unit. Here are some points all employers should bear in mind when dealing with when negotiating with their staff.

We’re all familiar with the cliched ‘boss from Hell’ trope, take action now to make sure that you’re not comparable with this stereotype!

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devil wears prada

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This guy is my hero.

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A Little Bit of Freedom Goes a Long Way

Giving your employees leeway to do their own thing allows them to showcase creative freedom which will prevent your staff from feeling like robots or indentured servants. Your employees will appreciate the faith and confidence that you have in them, and this is sure to pay off in the long-term future of your business

See Your Employees as Individuals

This is crucial. Make sure that you greet your staff by name when you see them first thing in the morning. Aim to raise a smile, even if you’re rushed off your feet. Thank them for their contributions and listen and pay heed to their needs and requests, including requests for greater flexibility at work! Sounds simple, but treating your employees as respected and valued individuals is one of the easiest ways to foster loyalty within your company and earn the respect of your workers.

Share your Vision

When you have a busy team of staff working underneath you, it is difficult to effectively convey your long-term hopes and ambitions. Set targets with your employees and aim to work towards this vision. This is key to creating loyal bonds and creating meaning for your workers. As a strong, unit, you will quickly stride towards your ambitions and beyond.

Keep this point in mind and prepare for major ‘cool boss’ kudos!

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Career Women, Then and Now

In the 1970’s career women struggled to maintain their image in the workplace as they were being discriminated against – as The Pregnancy Discrimination Act wasn’t passed until 1978. While women entered the workforce in droves during this time, they were in no way treated equally to men in pay, the positions they held or their ability to climb the corporate ladder.

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In the 1990’s through the 2000’s we saw a huge change to this as the amount of career women in the workplace had increased rapidly. An example of this would be that in 2009, 43% of women were lawyers which is a huge amount in comparison to the 4% of women lawyers in the 1970’s. Women being more established within the workplace have given them the chance to take extended career breaks.

The problem we now face is helping women return to work at a steady place to help make them feel comfortable, not overwhelmed. We aim to help women returners with the use of flexible working.